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Ted and Honor Bauerlein
Ted and Honor Bauerlein
Unfortunately, I do not have a very good or comprehensive story to relate to you about the Buells, the Bauerleins and Robert Strong Woodward. At one time in my life, I was very close to the Buells, and the Bauerleins but time and distance of living so far apart has dwindled this to simple memories over the years.

Driveway into the Buell house
Driveway into the Buell house
I first knew Mrs. Elinor (Fife) Buell in the days I worked for Robert Strong Woodward. How they ever came to know each other I do not know, and recently I learned that even her grandchildren do not know. Robert, however, was very fond of Elinor, often taking her out to ride in the 12 cylinder Packard Phaeton many times to the Heath pasture to pick low bush blueberries. From time to time she would come up to the Southwick studio for a Studio Supper. She was widowed at this time and lived alone with a "state girl," Marion Spaulding, whom she had taken in and brought up with her own children. Many, many times I chauffeured RSW into the narrow driveway with the large "greeting stone" at the left side of the entrance to the old artist Edwin Romanzo Elmer's house on Bray Road to pick up Mrs. Buell and Marion.

I would open wide the huge rear door of the Packard, get them seated in the rear seat, tuck them in with buffalo robes, woolen blankets and even heated foot stones to keep them warm on their trips. Off we would go, at about 10 miles per hour, either just for a ride or often to pick wild mushrooms or wild flowers. A friend, Sally Vanderbilt, who spent summers at the Johnson Homestead in Hog Hollow, frequently went with us. Those were the happy days.

Elinor's husband had died in 1935. I do not remember ever seeing him. Neither do her grandchildren. I remember meeting the two daughters on occasion. Honor, the oldest daughter, majored in music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and then taught music in a college somewhere. Lois, the younger daughter, studied sociology, worked for the USO during WWII, and then did social work in New York City. She never married. The two girls were very busy with their lives and were seldom back at the old homestead. There was a son, Murray, whom I never met. He became a college professor.
Mourning Picture

Mourning Picture an oil painting by Edwin Romanzo Elmer of his home on
Bray Road. The little girl pictured is Effie, who had just died at age 9.
Apparently she had had to have her left leg amputated for some reason. The
house was soon afterward purchased by the Buells and later temporarily lived
in by Robert Strong Woodward. (courtesy of Smith College Museum of Art)

In 1934 Robert Strong Woodward's home and studio at the Hiram Woodward farm was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Mrs. Buell and Marion graciously moved out of their home up to "The Hill House," their summer home on Goodnow Road. It was on the mountain looking down over Shelburne Falls. Robert, along with his handyman, nurse and housekeeper, moved into the Buell home, the old artist Edwin Romanzo Elmer's home. Meanwhile the Southwick house and blacksmith shop on Upper Street in Buckland were renovated into his new home and studio. This lasted for about a year. It was at the Southwick Place where I began working as a yard boy for RSW.

Grave stone of artist Edwin Romanzo Elmer and Effie's grave, the little girl in the Mourning Picture who died at age 9
Gravestone of artist Edwin Romanzo Elmer
and Effie's grave, the little girl in the Mourning
Picture who died at age 9
Then came my years in the Army Air Corps and one of my assigned training fields, Ogden Army Air Force Base, now abandoned, was located just outside Salt Lake City where Honor lived with her husband, Dr. Ted, one of the original gastroenterologists. A graduate of Cornell Medical School he was trained by the famous Dr. Inglefinger of Boston and he took this new expertise to Salt Lake City. He was the first and only gastroenterologist in Salt Lake City at that time and he owned one of the first and finest gastroscopes. It was built in Germany. Dr. Ted would demonstrate the procedure to patients, to gain their confidence and show them how simple the procedure was, by performing it on his little dog. The dog was trained to sit in front of him, open her mouth and allow the passage of the gastroscope down her throat into her stomach. I do not remember him even using a topical spray throat anesthetic. The patient could then look in the eyepiece and actually see the inside of the dog's stomach. It was Dr. Ted who first "tweeked" my interest in becoming a physician myself although I had already been programmed by Uncle Rob (RSW) to become a musician. He pulled many strings to get me admitted to the music department of Oberlin College after discharge from the service.

The Bauerlein kids in Salt Lake City
The Bauerlein kids in Salt Lake City
Robert Strong Woodward introduced Honor and Ted to me and for a year or so I was a frequent weekend guest of the Bauerleins in their home. I was able to "give back" by doing chores around the house and yard, serving guests who came to dinner etc. The Bauerleins liked to entertain and frequently had dinner guests. I worked in the kitchen, served the meals, and took care of the children. Often their guests would bring along kodachrome pictures of one of their recent trips abroad to show on a collapsible screen in the living room after supper. This was before the days of television. Ted was easily bored with this and it was his "one upsmanship" trick, at the end of a showing, to bring out a few of the pictures taken through his gastroscope of various stomach lesions to add on to the end of the slide show. This went over "big." There was occasionally some gagging! I remember the grin on his face as he described in detail what they were seeing. And I was absolutely fascinated.

A picnic under the beech tree with the Bauerlein family, Ted, Honor, Toni, Connie and Jim and Uncle Rob and me
A picnic under the beech tree with the Bauerlein family, Ted, Honor,
Toni, Connie and Jim and Uncle Rob and me
I became a frequent baby sitter to their three young children, Connie, Toni, and Jim. I came to love them all as my family away from home and I have many precious memories of my days with this family.

I was discharged from the service in 1946 and came back to work for the summer for Uncle Rob, prior to beginning my undergraduate studies at Oberlin College. During that summer the Bauerlein family came east on vacation. While here we all got together for a picnic in the Heath Pasture beneath the beech tree.

A restored old movie film of those days can be seen on YouTube

When the Bauerleins returned home this summer they took with them a beautiful winter oil painting of the beech tree. This painting had never been named by RSW. For some reason it had never been shown in the studio. I remember him telling them that they could name it. After getting the painting back to Salt Lake City, and hung on their living room wall, they called in their friend, and well-known poet, Brewster Ghiselin, who took one look at it, allegedly threw his arms in the air and exclaimed, "The Blue Couch." Please read the diary comments on this painting in the gallery section of this website. RSW never thought much of this title but "so be it'! It remained in the Bauerlein home until they moved to California and after their death became the property of their children.

During my college years I pretty much lost contact with the Bauerlein family. There was one summer, during a summer vacation from medical school, when my wife, Barbara, and I came back to Buckland to work for Uncle Rob and earn some tuition money, that Dr. Ted lived in our vacant Peterboro Street Apartment in the Boston Fenway District for a couple of weeks while he took a "refresher" course in gastroenterology from Dr. Inglefinger at Tufts Medical School. This was about in 1952-3.

Grave stone of Elinor Buell and her husband
Grave stone of Elinor Buell and her husband
Dr. Bauerlein gave up his practice in Salt Lake City in 1960 and he and his wife moved to California where they lived until his death in 1985 following a brain infection secondary to an eye injury. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Honor came back to live in Massachusetts until her death in 1998. She was cremated and her ashes are to be placed in the Buell plot of the Arms Cemetery.

Hopefully The Blue Couch will remain in the Bauerlein family for many years to come.

Memory stone of Honor Bauerlein
Memory stone of Honor Bauerlein
Memory stone of Dr. Theodore Bauerlein
Memory stone of Dr. Theodore Bauerlein
The resting place of Ted Bauerlein
The resting place of Ted Bauerlein

"All of the close friends of Robert Strong Woodward are now gone. Time flies by so rapidly. But ALL are dearly remembered and loved."